There is no need to reach for the smelling salts, QPR were the innocent party in the whole affair. During the years 1962 and 1963, a group of Football League players and their associates formed a crooked gambling syndicate with the objective of pulling off betting scams on the football results fixed odds. The famous names that hit the headlines were Tony Kay, Peter Swan and David ‘Bronco’ Layne, all of Sheffield Wednesday but there were others who also featured including Jimmy Gauld of Mansfield (a ringleader) and a certain Richard Scott Beattie of Peterborough United. The plan was for the players in question by means of their non-performance out on the pitch to ensure that the opposition were the victors thereby pulling off the coup with the consequence of cash winnings and pay-outs all round. Richard Scott Beattie is where we come into the picture.
On the 8th September 1962, Peterborough United had a home fixture against QPR in the old Division Three of the Football League. It was Beattie’s task to make certain that this was to be an away win (lucky us) and as a goalkeeper you would have thought that this would have been easy to achieve without making matters obvious. However, this was not quite how events turned out as the subsequent expose in the ‘Sunday People’ did testify. According to the newspaper article which contained Beattie’s ‘confession’, the situation nearly went ‘pear shaped’.
Peterborough were dominating the game, leading 1-0 and much to Beattie’s chagrin, it was getting near to full-time. Shot shy Rangers still couldn’t muster even a half decent attempt on target ! Drastic measures were required so twice when the opportunity arose, he deliberately threw the ball out to R’s winger John McClellend and there followed two goals in quick succession. The first by Johnny Mac himself and then a ‘lay-off’ for Brian Bedford for number two. Phew, mission
accomplished, Peterborough 1 – QPR 2 ! There was obvious joy from the R’s contingent but heaven knows what the other Peterborough players thought of it all.
The aftermath of the newspaper investigation and the subsequent criminal proceedings resulted in various prison sentences, bans and fines for the culprits plus a more cautious approach by the bookies regarding bets placed on individual Football League matches. There was though, to remain one final ironic twist to the saga. On Saturday 19th August 1972, following completion of a prison sentence and lengthy ban, Peter Swan took to the field for Sheffield Wednesday in a Division Two encounter with QPR at Loftus Road but it was not enough to stop us winning the game 4-2.
As for Richard Scott Beattie himself, ex-Celtic, Portsmouth and Peterborough keeper, he was jailed in 1965 which finished his playing career. He died in 1990 and presumably is now up there with that great fixed-odds coupon in the sky. Jimmy Gauld was convicted for instigating the scandal. He played for Waterford, Charlton, Everton, Plymouth, Swindon, St Johnstone and Mansfield before his career was ended by a broken leg. In 1964, he sold his story to the ‘Sunday People’ for ¬£7,000 incriminating the three Sheffield Wednesday players that he had enticed into the scheme. His taped conversations were used to convict them and himself. The judge made it clear that he held Gauld responsible for ruining the other three. He was fined ¬£5,000 and received four years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud.
Bernard Lambert (Kerrins)